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Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with a precious metal, usually gold, silver or platinum. The technique celebrates the history of the object and, rather than disguising a repair, highlights it and makes it beautiful.
Kintsugi has come to the West, where it found fertile ground through its kinship with the current trend of 'make do and mend', as well as for its lyrical metaphoric loading, which has been used in areas such as psychology and therapy, well-being, music, and emotional healing and spirituality. It is also being presented as a model for sustainability.
This book explains what traditionalkintsugiis and how it is done, giving historical examples and using interviews of traditionalkintsugimasters in Japan. It reflects on the possible reasons for its development, looking especially at a cultural attitude of "creativity through destruction." Different kinds of repairs will be discussed, including the earlier "staple" repair often seen in Chinese ceramic wares and the development ofyobitsugi,in which shards from different vessels are pieced together in a patchwork, and otherkintsugitechniques.
The underlying concept ofkintsugi, which encompasses thewabiaesthetic of accepting the imperfect, has struck a chord in other fields such as fine art, textiles, graphics, and product design. The metaphoric richness of a broken pot made stronger and more beautiful is both universal and deeply personal. The book will discuss how this is being used in music and literature, with the inclusion of short works of fiction and/or poetry separating the chapters.
There have been recent ceramic exhibitions with akintsugitheme, including "Golden Seams" at the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery in Washington DC. Other exhibitions outside of ceramics that have had akintsugitheme include a photography and installation piece by Koo Stark at the Leica Gallery, London. An example of its metaphoric application can be seen in the Radio 4 programme, 'Mending Cracks of Gold' (part of the seriesSomething Understood,which presents 'ethical and religious discussion that examines some of the larger questions of life, taking a spiritual theme and exploring it through music, prose and poetry'), for which Bonnie was a contributor. There have been two TED Talks aboutkintsugi.